Friday, June 01, 2012

Hike to Hatiheu, Ruins No-No Bites and Curried Goat

June 1, 2012
Anchorage position: 08°49.3236'S 140°03.8678'W

Baie D' Anaho, Nuka Hiva, Marqueses, French Polynesia, South Pacific

Filling our backpacks with our normal assortment of gear (water, snacks, knife, machete, camera, 100% deet bug spray and money) we prepared for the trek toward Baie d' Hatiheu. Heading for the beach we easily negotiated the break in the coral reef and dropped our dinghy anchor in thigh deep water. Since the beach is long at low tide it's far simpler to just anchor the dinghy that pull it up the beach. Slipping on our walking shoes we headed up the trail to a pass at 217 meters. Much of the hike is shaded on a well defined path with switchbacks up the hill. With several short breaks to enjoy the scenery we hit the pass in 40 minutes and enjoyed the sweeping view of Baie D' Anaho and further east to Baie D' Haatuatua. The cool breeze at the pass was welcome and we drained our 1.5 liter water bottles in record time. Making the descent into Hatiheu the trail was mostly shady and lined with a tantalizing number of mango trees each heavy with fruit that was always just out of reach. We did manage to salvage a few freshly fallen fruits from the ground which were delicious. Far below in the bay we spotted a sailboat which turned out to be our friends Bill, Keene and Shanti Anna on s/v Shanti Anna sailing a classic 39' Columbia. Thirty minutes from the saddle we were on the beach in Baie D' Hatiheu for a total travel time including breaks of 90 minutes. It wasn't long before we ran into the crew of s/v Shanti Anna and headed off to find and explore the many ancient ruins. Luckily Shanti had written down the names of the various sites so despite a circuitous route up and down several rutted roads and through numerous yards asking directions along the way we finally made it to each of the sites. In the end we determined that walking down the waterfront in a westerly direction, turning left on the street that goes to the post office and then continue on the main road about a half a mile up the hills is the simplest way to the ruins which are very obvious and well marked. Of all the Marquesan archeological sites we've visited this large complex covering many many acres was by far the most interesting. Several banyan trees of incredible scale are alone worth the visit. Tikis, petroglyphs, pits, platforms and more conjure up exotic images of past human sacrifice, dancing and feasts.

Thinking about feasting we headed back toward the waterfront to enjoy an authentic Marquesan meal at the restaurant 'Chez Yvonne'. The crew of s/v Shanti Anna joined us as well as crew Hans from s/v Miss Goodnight. Kathy ordered curried goat and I goat in coconut cream, each dish was accompanied with rice, friend breadfruti and mashed manioc. The lunch was delicious as it should be for 1900XPF for the entrees and 600XPF for a beer for a total of 5000XPF for just us two! Thats more than $55 USD! This was our one big hurrah for the Marqueses and maybe for all of French Polynesia. With our stomaches full we were ready for a nap, yet we still had to make the trek back over the hill to Baie d' Anaho and back to the boat. Our return trip took a speedy 70 minutes.

Counting up my nono (sand fly) bites I came up with 46 on my stomach, 104 on my left leg, 83 on my right leg and 53 on my neck and a bunch on my arms. These tiny bugs are sneaky and you don't notice that you're getting bitten until it's too late. This is what happens when you don't use deet. Given the excruciating itchiness that lasts for several days, I highly recommend taking precautions to avoid these itchy bites that will pull you right out of a deep sleep with a tantalizing need to scratch. John and Tiffany from s/v Michaela, we now understand your torment in San Blas where we were immune.

This morning we met up with Franz the owner of s/v Miss Goodnight to swap some weather info. Crew Hans was nice enough to share his photographs of the ruins since our camera battery died early in the day. I expect some of the photos will be spectacular and look forward to posting a few next next time we have internet.

Today is laundry day where we'll take all of our laundry to shore, track down a water tap and painstakingly hand launder each garment and three set of queen size sheets. The last few times we've done laundry the tap water was pretty murky with silt and it definitely wasn't a good time to try to get anything white whiter. Since it hasn't rained in days we expect the water to be nice and clean here in Anaho.

That's it for now.